If you really look closely, you can see the fatigue around the edges of the staff. Holy Week, Easter, and the Revolutionary Love Conference was quite a bit to do in two weeks’ time. But we did it! And though we are tired, we are thrilled with what we all—you, our staff, and our partners—did together. Thank you for your part in it!
Holy Week was tender. Easter was joyful, with some 1,200 people joining us in the building and online, celebrating the power of new life.
And the conference? More than 500 people came to what has been called the best conference ever. More than 400,000 total clicks into the livestream!Why? Because people think Middle Church is doing a special and bold thing in the world. They want to convene around the thing, around Revolutionary Love; and they think we know how to do it!!
Working at Middle Church? Hosting that gathering? Working with our team? Partnering across faiths to heal souls and the world? This is my dream come true. I work hard to support it, and John and I make a significant gift each year to make it happen.
As a young enslaved African, Harriet Tubman, who was known as Minty, survived a head wound that should have killed her. One symptom of the wound was the need for spontaneous deep sleep; in those moments, she would dream routes to freedom. She dreamed of liberation and her dreams came true for 300 souls. She took risks, she spent her capital, and she put her body on the line to make them free.
If we are dreaming of liberating God’s people, we’ll have to take risks, Middle Family. It takes hard work and we will be tired sometimes.
And liberation—this movement for love and justice—it takes money. I know that these times can make us want to hunker down and turn inward in order to survive. But we are connected. I don’t survive without you; they won’t survive without us.
Friends, we are behind on our offering goal. If we don’t meet our offering goal by June 30, we are signaling to our Collegiate partners that though we talk of love and justice, we can’t fund it. Though we talk of bold, revolutionary love, we don’t believe strongly enough to support it. And if we don’t make it, we will have to make cuts for next year. We’ll have to assume that we can’t afford our amazing programming, worship, and justice works and we’ll have to let something go.
You’ve noticed we are talking more about money. We are talking about money because we need some! As you recall, the Collegiate Church did major capital improvement projects at its four churches in recent years. To pay for ours, our Collegiate funding has been reduced by $30,000 each year. In addition, each ministry has been asked to make funding 50 percent of its budget an urgent goal. This is our way of partnering in the creation of our new safe, accessible buildings.
At the time this was announced, Middle was funding 20 percent of its ministry. We have increased year by year, and currently are funding 37 percent of our budget—that is AMAZING! But we are not on track to make this year’s offering goal. It is imperative that we meet the goal of $625,000 this year as we continue to lean into funding 50 percent by 2022. As of this writing, we need about $167,000 to meet the goal.
So, my question for you is this: Is Middle Church the stuff of your dreams? Do you feel called to liberation? If so, the staff and I need you. We can’t afford any bystanders. There is too much work to do and it is not free!
Please join me in prayer about the spiritual gift of generosity, about giving some of what God has given you—maybe a tenth of it—to support
God’s dream. To complete God’s Dream.
In my dream, we’re all making it happen. Showing up. Loving. Being generous.